Thursday, September 13, 2007

On What Basis Do You Make Moral Choices?

On what basis does the non-theistic and practical atheist make moral choices, which include going to war and capital punishment? One might answer, "the Constitution," but to many liberals the Constitution is a "living document" subject to constant interpretation, re-interpretation and revision to match "the times." So is it the times that shape such a presidential candidate, or something more permanent? - Cal Thomas

This was one of the deepest points brought out in Chuck Colson's Gideon's Torch, a novel written over a decade ago. [I post a disclaimer. The plot of the book involves an extreme abortion protest group, which takes the law into their own hands. I do not advocate this, and nor does Chuck Colson.]

Going back to the quote above, Cal Thomas actually said that in reference to the presidential campaign now legitimately underway. He argues that if atheists believe (as do I, in this case) that a candidate's personal faith ought to be public knowledge because it will potentially affect how that candidate would make decisions in office; if atheists ask for that kind of openness, let them not forget that secularists and atheists may be asked the same question. On what basis will they make judgments? Where do they draw the line?

Even as a Christian (or a Mormon or a Catholic or a Muslim), the answer to those questions may not be obvious. There is no guarantee that you as a human will be faithful to your religion's ideals. So I can ask you, though you are probably not running for president, on what basis do you actually make decisions? Where do you draw the line?

For example, what do you believe about lying? Is it ok to lie if everyone is? If no one knows? If no one gets hurt? If it's the only way to keep yourself from being hurt? If it keeps others from being hurt? If lives could be saved? How do you decide? Where is the line when a lie starts to be wrong?

To God be all glory.

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